She's the woman, the myth, the legend. She's the soul behind the first barre workout in Singapore, and the founder of the hottest new mum group. Meet Anabel Chew!
Fitness classes have always been having a moment. Looking to work out in the dark with deafening club techno music? There’s a place for that. Dreaming of spending a week doing yoga poses and morning meditation on the beach? Done. But in Singapore, back in 2015, if you didn’t fall into the high intensity or beachside yoga type of workout category, you’d have a hard time finding a class for say, barre.
But what is barre?
For those of you who don’t know, barre is a fitness phenomenon based on stretches and strength-training exercises. It is a combination of ballet-inspired moves with elements of Pilates, Yoga, and strength training. Celebrities like Victoria Secret’s model Alessandra Ambrosio and Karlie Kloss swear by this workout. Barre is also great for pregnant mamas if they’re looking for something more upbeat than stretching out at yoga.
Since her business launched in 2016, Anabel Chew, a 32 year-young former professional flautist, co-founder of WeBarre, and mother of one, has led hundreds of fitness enthusiasts in Singapore to experience this new type of workout.
“I never thought I’d be running a fitness business…”
After a successful opening in Singapore, WeBarre quickly took Hong Kong by storm. However, the idea to start WeBarre was not always on Anabel’s mind. If you asked her six years ago, whether she’d ever start a fitness business, she’d laugh. The love for music, dancing, and performing was there, but not the ambition to open a fitness studio on an island full of them.
But after returning from a summer stint in New York, where she fell in love with barre, it was in Anabel’s interest to bring it back to Singapore. She put the suggestion to the owner’s of her favourite cycling studio to do so, since they already had a studio and were familiar with the fitness business. They loved the idea, and asked her to train as a part-time barre instructor. Yes!, she said.
Plie, passé, and pulse…
The plan never came to fruition, but the idea was still there. Months later, after much deliberation, the brainchild of two fitness fiends looking for a new workout was birthed. WeBarre quickly became an inclusive and empowering community for people from all walks of life. From toning to sculpting and strengthening, there’s something for everyone. Have you seen a ballerina with rounded shoulders? Nope. Barre workouts engage the core and encourage that golden “shoulders back, chin up” dancer’s posture. If you feel like you’ve spent all of your life slumped over your phone, barre is probably for you.
Barre is just what your mental and physical health needs.
Another fab thing about barre is that it promotes mindfulness. Seriously, you won’t be able to doze off or quickly check your phone. Barre is an intense workout that doesn’t lend itself to mental multitasking. Why? Because it requires so much focus on form and alignment, focus and concentration, and leaves no room for distraction.
Barre is also fantastic for strength training without the need for weights. You have the option to use a small pair of hand weights for arms and shoulders, but most of the time, you use your bodyweight. Think plank holds, push-ups and plié squats.
Barre is also pregnancy- and baby-friendly.
A barre beginner, a barre enthusiast, and even a pregnant mum in her second and third trimester are all suitable candidates for a barre workout. WeBarre prenatal series is the perfect workout for pregnant mums who want to reap the benefits of stronger pelvic floor strength and increased stamina. Another class that’s popular among mums is the ‘Mums ‘n Bubs’ class, which allows mums to bring their babies to class for a workout together. All you need is your Lululemon, a baby carrier, and your baby!
In response to the pandemic, WeBarre has also made it its mission to keep the fun flowing and the workout going. With their latest addition ‘WeBarre-On-Demand’, all the barre die-hard fans can now work out in the comfort of their homes (although we love and miss the cosy studio feels!).
Juggling is difficult, let alone to juggle motherhood and a business.
Another thing that hasn’t always been on Anabel’s mind, is to become a mother. However, become a mother she did. Take a scroll through her personal Instagram page, and see how adorable little baby Arya is. In preparation of motherhood, Anabel read extensively, got tips from other mums, and promised that she would tune in to her natural instincts. This fit mum also shares some helpful pregnancy tips, include sticking to regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Working mums are superheroes wearing milk-stained t-shirts in disguise. They can do it all with strength and beauty. And Anabel Chew is one of those mums, who runs a business, keeps it afloat during a pandemic, and still spends quality time with her little family. For working mums like Anabel, they don’t “nap when the baby naps”. They work. They persevere. It’s tough, but they somehow make it work.
As if running WeBarre and running after a toddler isn’t already exhausting, Anabel has recently birthed her next big thing…
Tiger Moms Club (TMC) is the second brainchild of Anabel. TMC fosters a community for mums to support one another, share ideas, tips, and other useful resources. What we love about TMC is how honest and real each piece of advice is, and how we wish we knew some of those things when we were expecting.
Recently created, Tiger Moms Club is quickly gaining traction. TMC addresses honest parenting issues, from sleep training tips to solids feeding hacks. We also love to skim through some real mums’ birth stories on its Instagram feed, while grazing on the delicious recipes we found on TMC (we’re making a beeline for the cornflake chicken…). It’s a new mum’s black book full of useful, non-sugarcoated mum hacks for all modern busy mums out there.
As for the future? Anabel’s plans include tirelessly chasing after her tot and conquering the agricultural space, although she’s keeping it hush hush at the moment…